800-346-9140                                                    ORGANIC TOMATO                                            ...
Table of Contents       Organic agriculture is an ecological              IPM-label for apples raised in a growers’       ...
Efficient harvesting, handling, and marketing               In general, the tomato market fluctuates with thetechniques ar...
stands, and U-pick sales. In these cases, local       and organic matter, they should be plowed downconsumer preference di...
bedding operations, or banded to the side of the     has detailed information on foliar feedingrow at planting.           ...
cover crops can provide N inputs      sufficient to support 40 to 45 T/A       •      Well-rotted manures applied in the  ...
In-row mulches control weeds by excluding light          On large acreages, mechanical cultivation is aand forming a physi...
crops. Undercutting suppressed                  of a heavier 65−lb kraft paper, gave      weeds better than either a flail...
and tunnels are used in some instances to                   Sprawl culture on plastic mulch: Transplantingprovide frost pr...
2 foot tall wire cage 14 inches in diameter made from No. 10 mesh on 6"x 6" spacing3 Stake  and weave           Stake is d...
organic materials and rock powders are soilInsects                                                management practices tha...
Thus, organic growers often monitor soil copper       3.     Growers can purchase agriculturelevels through regular soil t...
1% solution is equivalent to 3.7 oz in 124.3 oz of     3)    Ruth Hazzard, personal communication.water, while a 0.5% solu...
References: (continued)                                     24)   Fresh-Market Tomato Production, Agdex                   ...
References: (continued)                                         Agriculture (Selected Papers from the                     ...
Appendix: (continued)                                Enclosures:Table 3: Major Insect Pests of Tomatoes              ATTRA...
Table 2            Number of Tomato Plants* per Acre at Several Between-row and In-row Spacings            Between Rows (f...
Source:     Neary, Philip E. 1992. Commercial Staked Tomato Production in New              Jersey. E-163. Rutgers Cooperat...
Table 3                           Major Insect Pests of Tomatoes        Name                    Damage                    ...
Table 4                                             Tomato Diseases                  Name                         Damage  ...
Table 5                               Other Problems of Tomatoes       Name                Cause                    Effect...
800-346-9140                                                          TOMATO WEB LINKS                                    ...
Fresh Market TomatoesUniversity of Missouri Extension Servicehttp://muextension.missouri.edu/xplor/agguides/hort/g06370.ht...
Statewide Statistics on Processing Tomato Acreage and TonnageCalifornia Tomato Growers Association, Inc.http://www.ctga.or...
Valley State University Agricultural Research Station. For the past three years, the overall       tomato research objecti...
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Organic Tomato Production

  1. 1. 800-346-9140 ORGANIC TOMATO PRODUCTION HORTICULTURE PRODUCTION GUIDEAppropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas ATTRA is the national sustainable agriculture information center funded by the USDA’s Rural Business -- Cooperative Service. Abstract: A market exists for organically grown, fresh- and processing-market tomatoes. Although information on conventional tomato practices is available from many sources, comprehensive information on organic cultivation practices is difficult to find. Organic tomato production differs from conventional production primarily in soil fertility, weed, insect, and disease management. These are the focus of this publication, with special emphasis on fresh market tomatoes.By Steve Diver, George Kuepper,and Holly Born Organic certification emerged as a marketingNCAT Agriculture Specialists tool during the 1970s and 80s to ensure foodsOctober 1995 produced organically met specified standards ofRevised March 1999 production. The Organic Foods Production Act, a section of the 1990 Farm Bill, enabled theOrganic Farming and Certification Programs USDA to develop a national program of universal standards,As defined by the USDA certification accreditation,in 1980 (1), organic and food labeling. In earlyfarming is a system that 1998, the USDA released aexcludes the use of draft of the new standards forsynthetic fertilizers, public comment. Publicpesticides, and growth opposition to these proposedregulators. Organic standards was vocal, sendingfarmers rely heavily on a message to the USDA thatcrop rotations, crop more work was necessary.residues, animal While revisions to the draftmanures, legumes, green are underway, it may takemanures, organic wastes, another year or two beforeand mineral-bearing the national program actuallyrocks to feed the soil and materializes.supply plant nutrients.Insects, weeds, and other pests are managed by A new definition of "Organicmechanical cultivation and cultural, biological, agriculture," as proposed by the Nationaland biorational controls. Organic Standards Board, is: Organic Farming & Certification Programs ............. 1 A Comparison of Tomato Training Systems .............. 9 Tomato Acreage Yields, Economics & Harvest ...... 2 Managing Insect Pests & Diseases ........................... 10 Variety Selection ..................................................... 3 Insects ....................................................................... 10 Crop Rotation .......................................................... 4 Diseases .................................................................... 11 Soil Fertility.............................................................. 4 Resources.................................................................. 13 Research & Field Experience in Fertility ................. 5 References ................................................................ 13 Weed Management ................................................ 6 Appendix .................................................................... 17 Research & Field Experience in Weed Management Enclosure ................................................................... 22 ................................................................................ 7 Tomato Training Systems ....................................... 8 ATTRA // Organic Tomato Production Page 1
  2. 2. Table of Contents Organic agriculture is an ecological IPM-label for apples raised in a growers’ production management system that cooperative in Washington State. promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. The Cooperative Extension Service at the It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs University of Massachusetts developed IPM and management practices that restore, standards for tomatoes. The standards are based maintain and enhance ecological harmony. on a set of best management practices that Organic is a labeling term which denotes emphasize sound nutrient management, crop products produced under the requirements of rotation, legume cover cropping, sanitation the Organic Foods Production Act. procedures, field scouting, pesticide record keeping, and so on. Growers earn a set number The primary goal of Organic agriculture is of points for each practice utilized in their to optimize the health and productivity of production program. To be certified, each field interdependent communities of soil life, must accumulate 311 out of a possible 445 IPM plants, animals and people. The principal Practice Points70% of the total (2). guidelines for organic production are to use materials and practices that enhance Tomato Acreages, Yields, Economics, and the ecological balance of natural systems Harvest and that integrate the parts of the farming system into an ecological whole. Organic The tomato is one of the most commonly grown agriculture practices cannot ensure that fresh market vegetables. Yet, since tomatoes are products are completely free of residues; both high yielding and labor intensive, 1/4-acre, however, methods are used to minimize 1/2-acre, and 1-acre production units are common pollution from the air, soil and water. with market gardeners. In Massachusetts, for Organic food handlers, processors and example, there are approximately 500 acres of retailers adhere to standards that maintain tomatoes, and approximately 500 vegetable farms. the integrity of Organic agriculture Since some of the larger farms produce 10−15 acres products. of tomatoes, quite a few farms grow less than one acre (3).Growers choose organic methods for a variety ofreasons. One of the attractions of organic Tomato yields of 650 to 850 boxes (30 poundsproduce is that it sometimes brings a 10−30% each) per acre are common in the South Centralpremium in the marketplace. As organically- U.S. (e.g., Oklahoma) (4). This is equivalent togrown produce becomes commonplace, however, 19,000 to 25,000 pounds or about 10 to 13 tons perthese premiums may be the exception rather than acre. Comparable fresh market yields of 23,000 tothe rule, and motivation beyond market 27,000 pounds per acre are listed in Knottspremiums should be considered. Incentives may Handbook for Vegetable Growers (5). In 1990, theinclude the possibility of reduced input costs, average fresh market tomato yield nationwideimproved farm safety, reduced environmental was 25,100 pounds per acre (6).impact, and a better-functioning agroecosystem. Production and marketing costs for intensivelyIn addition to organic production, IPM cultured tomatoes can be over $4,000 per acrecertification has emerged as a marketing tool for with an expected gross return of $4,000 to $8,000growers for whom organic production is per acre (7). Gross returns of $18,000 are notimpractical or otherwise unsuitable. Though uncommon (8). One organic farmer in Newsuch programs do not restrict pesticide use, Jersey netted $10,000 an acre, with 10 acres inproduce is raised within a comprehensive IPM production (9).framework, and total pesticide usage is oftenreduced. For example, Responsible Choice is an ATTRA // Organic Tomato Production Page 2
  3. 3. Efficient harvesting, handling, and marketing In general, the tomato market fluctuates with thetechniques are extremely important in the growing season, starting high and dropping asproduction of this highly perishable crop. the summer season progresses. That is whyHarvesting tomatoes is very labor intensive. One plasticulture and hoop house production source (10) estimates 350 hours for each staked techniques which increase earliness or extend theacre. For storage and shipping, fruit can first be season  have become popular.picked at the "breaker" stage of maturity, when theblossom end turns pink. Post-harvest temperaturemanagement is critical to maintain quality.Tomatoes may become damaged when storedbelow 55°F. The optimum temperature range forlongest shelf life is between 55°F and 70°F (5). Figure 1. 1997 Seasonal Price Variation, Organic Fresh-Market Tomatoes* 1.80 1.60 1.40 1.20 1.00 Lo/lb Hi/lb Mean/lb 0.80 0.60 0.40 0.20 0.00 JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUNE JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC * Prices are average of each month’s weekly prices from the Organic Food and Business News Weekly Fax Bulletin. Note that prices are farmgate and represent only West and East Coast markets.Variety Selection Market demands: Wholesale markets thatFactors influencing selection of tomato varieties involve handling and packaging of the fruitinclude market demands, disease resistance, require firm varieties suitable for shipping. Thissuitability to production systems, and regional is less critical in farmers markets, roadsideadaptability. ATTRA // Organic Tomato Production Page 3
  4. 4. stands, and U-pick sales. In these cases, local and organic matter, they should be plowed downconsumer preference dictates which varieties to several months in advance of planting.choose and may provide opportunities forspecialty tomatoes (e.g., yellow, pink, low-acid, Soil Fertilitycherry, pear-shaped, and heirloom varieties). The foundation of organic farming is aDisease resistance: Diseases are the Achilles heel microbially active soil enriched with organicof organic tomato production. The use of matter and a balanced mineral diet. Humusresistant and tolerant varieties can give the building practices and additions of rock mineralsfarmer a "leg up" on pest management. Consider not only supply plant nutrients, but increasevarieties such as the Mountain series developed tolerance to insects and diseases, help controlat North Carolina State University (e.g., weeds, retain soil moisture, and finally, ensureMountain Pride, Supreme, Gold, Fresh, and produce quality.Belle), which are tolerant to early blight. The organic fertility system revolves around aSuitability to production systems: Tomatoes have combination of practices such as crop rotation;growth habits ranging from determinate (bush) forage legumes, cover crops, and green manures;to indeterminate (vining). Growth habit affects livestock manures (preferably composted); lime,staking methods, pruning, length of harvest rock phosphate, and other rock minerals; andseason, and other aspects of management. lastly, supplemental organic fertilizers.Regional adaptability: Cooperative Extension On soils managed biologically for several years,Service publications and commercial seed tomatoes yield well from legume and compostcatalogs provide information on varieties treatments alone. While 5−10 tons/acre/year is aadapted to local conditions. typical rate of compost application for vegetables, organic growers in New Jersey have been scalingCrop Rotation back on compost rates for tomatoes, especially on established fields. Rates as low as 1−2Crop rotation is a major component of organic tons/acre/year are performing well.farming, affecting both soil conditions and pestcycles. Tomatoes belong to the nightshade family Applications of well-rotted barnyard manures at(Solanaceae), which includes potatoes, eggplant, 10−15 tons/acre/year have been recommended forpeppers, and garden huckleberry. Rotation to tomato production. These are typically soil-non-solanaceous crops for three years is usually incorporated in fall or early spring before planting.recommended to avoid pest problems common to Raw manures are restricted in organic certification.this group of vegetables (11). They should be fall-applied, preferably to cover crops, well in advance of the crop.For market gardeners and farmers with limitedgrowing space, long rotations may be impractical. "Hot manures" such as poultry litter are oftenIn these instances, soil building practices such as limited to 4 tons/acre in the Ozark region; andgreen manuring and composting  practices that less than 1 ton/acre in spring, well-incorporatedsupport abundant soil microflora  are doubly at least two weeks prior to transplanting.important to create natural disease suppressive Research from Alabama suggests higher rates ofconditions. fall-applied poultry litter (9−18 tons/acre) can also yield good results (12). Poultry litter may beSod crops preceding tomatoes  such as grass restricted in some organic certification programs.pasture and small grains crops  often result inheavy cutworm and/or wireworm damage to Soils with no history of organic management willtomatoes. When soil building crops such as these probably need additional fertilization. Fertilizerare grown in rotation to increase soil structure can be incorporated during field preparation and ATTRA // Organic Tomato Production Page 4
  5. 5. bedding operations, or banded to the side of the has detailed information on foliar feedingrow at planting. available on request.Fresh market tomatoes require about 75 to 100 Major factors that influence fertility decisionspounds of nitrogen (N) per acre. Most, if not all, on an organic farm include: crop rotation; thecan be supplied by legumes in rotation; composts presence or absence of livestock on the farm;or manures can fill in the balance. Some farmers nearby manure sources; availability ofprovide additional supplemental nitrogen at equipment (compost turners, manuretransplanting; a mixture of animal meal by- spreaders, fertilizer drills); and the availabilityproducts, rock phosphate, and kelp meal is and cost of commercial organic fertilizers in thecommonly used. region.If reliance is primarily on supplemental Research and Field Experience in Tomatofertilizers, about 50 pounds of actual nitrogen Fertilityshould be applied pre-plant, and the remainderside-dressed when fruits are about nickel-size. • In an Alabama study, fall-appliedOld tomato publications recommended drilling broiler litter at 18 T/A (tons/acre)or banding cottonseed meal, blood meal, or produced 20% higher yields ofsimilar medium-to-fast acting organics at the earlier and larger tomatoes thantime of planting (13). commercial fertilizers (12). The litter was tilled in and rye wasTomatoes need moderate to high levels of used as a winter cover crop.phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). On deficientsoils, most needs can be met by advance • In Nigeria, tomatoes yielded 44applications of rock powders such as rock and 42 T/A when swine manurephosphate, colloidal phosphate, untreated or poultry manure was applied at(mined) potassium sulfate, and sulfate of potash- 9 T/A. Tomatoes yielded 37 andmagnesia. Supplementary P and K may be 42 T/A on fields treated withadded as indicated by soil test results compared sewage sludge or rabbit manureto guidelines provided by Cooperative Extension; applied at 18 T/A. Organicfor example, see Table 1 “Plant Nutrient manures performed better thanRecommendations Based on Soil Tests” from NPK treatments, which yieldedRutgers University in the Appendix. only 31 T/A (15).Tomatoes do best with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8. Liming • In a New Jersey tomato study,to this range improves plant growth and soils well prepared with greenoptimizes fertilizer efficiency. Unless a manures and compost showed nodeficiency of magnesium is noted, hi-calcium yield response over two years to(non-dolomitic) lime is advised. applications of supplemental blood meal and alfalfa meal at NIn addition to soil management practices, foliar rates as high as 200 lbs/A,feeding with fish emulsion, seaweed, suggesting that organic growersbiostimulants, and compost or weed teas is can save money by not purchasingfrequently done. A specific foliar spray  the pricey inputs (16).application of apple-cider vinegar at a ratio of1:100 in the spray solution  may stimulate • In California, yields of processingflowering if delayed by weather or soil tomatoes grown following winterconditions (14). Field results of foliar legume cover crops (Austrianfertilization are not consistent, however. Poor winter peas, bell beans, lanaperformance is often the result of failure to wooly-pod vetch, berseem clover)follow application procedures correctly. ATTRA were comparable to chemical N fertilizer treatments. Legume ATTRA // Organic Tomato Production Page 5
  6. 6. cover crops can provide N inputs sufficient to support 40 to 45 T/A • Well-rotted manures applied in the of tomatoes (17). spring or fresh manure applied in the fall tends to enhance production• The Siegfried Luebke family, beyond what the use of only which operates one of the best commercial fertilizers can achieve. known organic farms in Austria, The best tomato crops follow crops uses Controlled Microbial of clover, sweet clover or alfalfa in a Compost at 8 T/A for field and three- or four- year rotation. Non- greenhouse tomatoes alike (18). legume green manuring crops, such as rye or oats, may be used as an• Bob Hofstetter, formerly on-farm alternative to the previously mentioned researcher at the Rodale Institute crops but yields will be less than those Research Center, plows down for legumes. Whatever the rotation, the strawy manure and cover crops to aim is to ensure the presence of an produce tomatoes and peppers abundance of organic matter in the soil. (19). Adequate supplies of rotting or decaying organic matter will increase crop yield• Researchers in Georgia, South and improve fruit quality (24). Carolina, and North Carolina investigated a vegetable Weed Management production system using winter Effective, non-chemical weed management cover crops and various rates of begins with planned, diverse crop rotations, nitrogen over a four year period. especially those including competitive cover In all locations, cover crops (smother) crops. Attention is also given to careful produced higher yields and better site selection and sanitation procedures that quality tomatoes and other avoid the introduction of weed seeds and other vegetables than applied nitrogen propagules. (20). The critical weed-free period for tomatoes is• In Arkansas, researchers about 4−5 weeks after transplanting (or longer if recommended 9-13 T/A of the crop is direct-seeded) (25). It is during this poultry manure applied in winter period that weed competition must be (December) for spring (April) suppressed to avoid a reduction in yield. tomato production (21). Weeds growing between crop rows are the easiest• Australian researchers determined to control. They are usually handled either by that compost, inoculated with shallow tillage or the use of a living mulch. several species of beneficial fungi, Living mulches are cover crops (like white clover, greatly enhanced the growth of subclover, or ryegrass) established to suppress tomatoes (22). weeds. Living mulches usually require some suppression alsoeither through partial-tillage• Treating organically grown tomato or mowingto avoid competition with the crop. crops with kelp and fish powder sprays yielded inconclusive results in There are several ways to control weeds within a California study. The researchers tomato rows. The method(s) used will depend to a concludedas had others large degree on whether the tomato crop is before themthat the efficacy of mulched or raised on bare ground. Additional foliar treatments is ultimately factors include scale of production, equipment, dependent on multiple plant, soil, materials, labor, and grower preference. and environmental factors (23). ATTRA // Organic Tomato Production Page 6
  7. 7. In-row mulches control weeds by excluding light On large acreages, mechanical cultivation is aand forming a physical barrier to growth. These common method of weed control within andcan be either organic mulches or some form of between rows. Shallow cultivation, 1−2 inchesplastic sheeting. deep, controls weeds and loosens soil that has crusted or become compacted. Loosening the soilOpaque plastic mulches (black and infrared helps in the absorption of rainfall and suppliestransmittingIRT) increase earliness and overall soil microorganisms with oxygen. In turn,yields, and have become a standard practice in microorganisms decompose organic matter andmodern tomato production. Plastic mulch liberate plant food for the tomato crop. Hillingsystems are popular with entry level growers the soil towards the plant row (using rollingbecause production on plastic mulch is reliable. cultivators or disc hillers) has at least threeHowever, a few organic certification programs benefits:restrict the use of plastics. Plasticulture is rarelydone without supplemental irrigation; drip is 1) small weeds close to the plant rowmost commonly used but flood irrigation works, are smothered;too. Fertigation, the injection of soluble fertilizers 2) tomato plants develop rootsthrough drip lines, is feasible with specially farther up the stem; andformulated organic fertilizers. 3) surplus moisture does not collect under tomato plants where itFurther information and resources on encourages disease, but insteadplasticulture can be found in the ATTRA runs away from the plants andpublication Season Extension Techniques for Market collects between the rows (27).Gardeners < http://www.attra.org/attra-pub/seasext.html>. The first cultivation may be done fairly close to newly established plants; later cultivationsOrganic mulches are an ideal organic treatment should be shallower and farther from the stemsbecause they add nutrients and feed soil to avoid plant damage and reduced yields. Non-organisms as they decompose. They also chemical weed control is further enhancedenhance the presence of predatory beetles and through the use of crop rotation, especially whenspiders. Mulches containing weed or grass seeds, competitive cover crops (smother crops) arerhizomes and other propagules should be included.avoided to prevent the introduction of furtherweed problems. Straw-bale Research and Field Experience in Tomatospreaderscommonly used in strawberry Weed Managementproductionare available to mechanize organicmulching operations. Forage wagons, like those • USDA researchers in Beltsville,used on dairy farms, are sometimes used to MD, using hairy vetch as a no-tilldeliver freshly cut pasture-mulch. mulch crop for tomatoes, obtained yields averaging more than 45No-till cover crop mulches, which suppress tons/acre. This was trailed byweeds both within and between the rows, work yields of 35 tons using plasticwell in some locations. One such system, devised mulch, and 34 tons using paperby USDA researchers (26), employs a winter mulch. Control plots with nocover crop of hairy vetch. The vetch is killed mulch averaged 19 tons/acre (28-with a flail mower leaving a 1−2 inch stubble and 29).the cut vegetation as a surface mulch. Tomatoes transplanted into the residue  benefit from • Ohio State researchers designedexcellent weed suppression, soil moisture an implement that mechanicallyretention, and the slow-release of nitrogen as the undercuts and kills cover crops,vetch decomposes. thus providing a no-till surface mulch for tomatoes and other ATTRA // Organic Tomato Production Page 7
  8. 8. crops. Undercutting suppressed of a heavier 65−lb kraft paper, gave weeds better than either a flail better weed control than 40−lb kraft mower or sicklebar mower. When paper alone (33). not mowed into little pieces, the mulch is thicker and its ability to • In New York State, wheat straw-mulched prevent light from penetrating to plots of ‘Sunrise’ tomatoes yielded almost the soil surface is enhanced. The twice as much as unmulched plots. The residue also remains on the soil researchers also noted reduced incidence surface longer (30). of anthracnose, early blight, blossom end rot, and weeds on mulched plots (34).• USDA researchers in Mississippi set disc coulters at an angle to • The use of colored plastic and paper mechanically kill hairy vetcha mulches is a recent development in technique known as "rolling." vegetable production. Different colors They learned that the most affect the wavelengths of light reflected effective time to do this operation back up into the crop canopy. This affects was when the legume reached the amount of heat available to the crop seed formation, or when stem and appears to have repellent effects on lengths along the ground some insect pests. Mike Orzolek, of Penn exceeded 15 inches (31). State University, believes red is the most effective mulch color for tomatoes (35). In• In Ohio, researchers compared a Florida tomato study (36), where foliar yields of tomatoes and sweet corn horticultural oil sprays were also applied on plots with no mulch to those in as part of the experiment, the largest plots with 4−6" of straw or 6−8" of number of whiteflies and the greatest newspaper mulch. Highest yields incidence of virus symptoms were for both crops were found on plots observed on white and yellow-mulched receiving shredded newspaper. plots. Plants were tallest on aluminum Both mulches suppressed annual and yellow plus oil-sprayed plots. Fruit weeds but gave poor control of size and marketable yields were best on perennial weeds like Canada plots with yellow mulch plus oil thistle and yellow nutsedge (32). treatment.• In Virginia, on-farm researchers Tomato Training Systems compared the efficacy of plastic, hay, Several training systems are used in tomato and oiled paper plus hay mulch. The culture. These include unsupported on bare paper mulch was 40−lb recycled kraft ground; unsupported on plastic or organic paper, similar in color, texture, and mulch; and supported (staked) by wire cages, thickness to paper shopping bags. stake and weave, or trelliseseither on bare Oiled paper was prepared by ground or plastic mulch. submerging rolls of kraft paper in waste cooking oil for 12 hours. The Staked Culture Systems two organic mulch treatments had lower summer soil temperatures, The two systems in widespread commercial use higher summer moisture, and higher are: stake and weave, and cage culture. A third earthworm populations than the system, more common in market gardens than in plastic mulch. Early marketable field-scale production, is the trellis system. yields were higher on plastic, but total marketable yields were not Staked on plastic mulch: This is typically significantly different. Spreading accompanied by drip irrigation and tensiometers hay on top of the paper mulch, or use to monitor soil moisture. Floating row covers ATTRA // Organic Tomato Production Page 8
  9. 9. and tunnels are used in some instances to Sprawl culture on plastic mulch: Transplantingprovide frost protection and to enhance early tomatoes through plastic mulch and allowingproduction. Production costs associated with them to sprawl on the plastic is an alternative tosuch intensive culture systems are high, but yield ground culture. Plastic mulch reduces soiland quality are excellent. splashing onto the leaves and fruit, thus reducing diseases. Either determinate or indeterminateStaked on organic mulch: This is similar to the types can be grown this way.system described above, but instead of plastic, anorganic mulch is used. Organic growers may Sprawl culture on organic mulch: Similar toprefer the soil-enhancing benefits of an organic plastic sprawl culture but organic mulches aremulch over plastic, but there are still costs used. Laying a thick mulch with farm equipmentassociated with materials and labor. prior to setting out transplants is the easiest way to mulch a large area. Unlike plastic mulches Unsupported Culture Systems which warm the soil, organic mulches cool the soil. This results in slower plant growth in theSprawl culture: Raising plants on bare soil and early part of the season. However, later in theallowing them to sprawlalso known as ground season, when temperatures are higher, organiccultureis still a commercial method in some mulches have an advantage over plastics.regions. Low input costs are the chief advantage.Lower yields, lower fruit quality, and a higherincidence of fruit and foliage diseases may beexpected when compared to supported systems.However, with lower establishment and laborcosts, economic returns to the grower may bequite satisfactory. A Comparison of Tomato Training SystemsResearchers at Oklahoma State University examined the economics and performance of tomato trainingsystems (37). They compare four different tomato training systems in the table below. Comparison of Tomato Training Systems Factor Ground1 Cage2 Stake & Weave3 Trellis4 Earliness 3rd 4th 2nd Best Fruit Size 4th 3rd 2nd Largest Marketable Yld 4th Largest 2nd 3rd Fruit Cracking 3rd 4th 2nd Worst Fruit Rotting Worst 2nd 2nd 2nd Fruit Quality Worst 2nd 2nd 2nd Fruit Sunburn Worst 4th 3rd 2nd Cost/Acre 4th 2nd Largest 3rd Pest Control 4th 3rd 2nd Best1 Ground No support system2 Cage ATTRA // Organic Tomato Production Page 9
  10. 10. 2 foot tall wire cage 14 inches in diameter made from No. 10 mesh on 6"x 6" spacing3 Stake and weave Stake is driven between every other plant and twine woven between and around stakes 4−6 times. All suckers but one below the first fruit cluster are removed. No other suckers are removed above the first cluster.4 Trellis Posts support No. 10 wire. Strings are dropped from wire and tied to base of plant. Plants are twined around string. The main stem and one sucker are allowed to develop and all other suckers are removed as they develop.Ultimately, the vulnerability of tomatoes to ATTRA’s Farmscaping to Enhance Biologicaldisease, and the limited efficacy of organically- Control <http://www.attra.org/attra-certified materials to control them, especially in pub/farmscape.html> publication provideshumid climates, weighs heavily in favor of extensive resources and seed sources forsupported culture systems for organic establishing beneficial insect habitats.production. Strip cropping and interplanting are other forms of farmscaping. Sweet corn attracts the tomatoA Rutgers study, for example, determined that fruitworm (also known as corn earworm) andfruit grown on staked plants suffers less post- may be an effective trap crop for this pest (41).harvest fruit rot (10%) than do ground-cultured Likewise, when field corn and tomatoes arefruit (34%) (38). An Oklahoma study found that a grown in the same production area, fruitwormstake and weave trellis system delayed early blight infestations on tomatoes are reduced (42).by about seven days and decreased rate ofinfection, thus reducing disease incidence and Adjacent vegetation can also worsen pestseverity at the end of the growing period (39). problems, however. Bull nettle and other weedyResults from a study in Massachusetts  where nightshades may harbor diseases and insects ofstake and weave trellising is encouraged for tomato, especially flea beetles. Weedyorganic production due to reduced incidence of nightshades, jimsonweed, and plantain alsodisease  were similar to those in Oklahoma (40). harbor tobacco mosaic virus, a common viral disease of tomatoes. Managing Insect Pests And Diseases: BasicConcepts Prevention and sanitation procedures are also important. These include post-season destructionIt is a long-held principle of organiculture that of vines via tillage, burning, or composting;insect pests and diseases strike primarily at weak removal of diseased tomato plants andand improperly nourished plants. The objective solanaceous weeds; sterilization of plant stakesof organic methods, then, is to grow crops which prior to re-use; prohibiting tobacco use in thenaturally resist the onslaught of pests. field; and frequent cleaning of tools andManagement of soil tilth, moisture, and nutrient implements to prevent transporting problemsstatus is the first step in effective pest between fields.management. Other cultural practices also play a role.Crop rotations, planted with the intention of Orientation of rows to maximize air circulationbreaking life cycles of insects and diseases, is a helps reduce fungal problems. Suspending fieldtraditional means of pest control. activities when vegetation is wet with dew or rain limits the spread of disease (27), as doesComplementary to crop rotations is the layout of mulching to reduce direct soil contact and rainfields with selected cover crops and flowering splash. Drip irrigation is preferred over sprinklerplants to attract beneficial insects, a technique irrigation to reduce moisture and splash ontoknown as farmscaping. Natural enemies of crop leaves and thus foliar disease occurrence.pests (e.g., ladybird beetles, lacewings, syrphidflies, and Trichogramma wasps) need shelter, Solarization, or heating soils by tarping with clearpollen, nectar, and food prey to survive. Plants plastic prior to planting, is a non-chemical soilespecially useful as refuge for beneficials include treatment for suppression of diseases, nematodes,most legumes, mints, buckwheat, and members and other pests. As a practical matter, however,of the umbelliferae and compositae families. its use is limited to small-scale operations. ATTRA // Organic Tomato Production Page 10
  11. 11. organic materials and rock powders are soilInsects management practices that form the basis of biological disease control of soil-borne pathogensControl of tomato insect pests requires careful (43, 44). Indications of a systemic (whole plant)monitoring and integration of cultural practices response to composts that are diseaseand biological controls. A wide range of suppressive have been reported for severalbiorational pesticides are available to keep pests vegetables (45, 46).below damaging levels. The table entitled "MajorInsect Pests of Tomatoes" in the Appendix Fungicide options are limited in organicsummarizes tomato insect pests and control production; copper- and sulfur-based productsoptions. See the ATTRA publications titled are the only labeled fungicides allowed inSustainable Vegetable Production and Integrated Pest certification programs. Coppers are labeled forManagement <http://www.attra.org/attra- anthracnose, bacterial speck, bacterial spot, earlypub/ipm.html>for further concepts and practices and late blight, gray leaf mold, and septoria leafassociated with insect pest management. spot. Sulfur is labeled for control of powdery mildew.Diseases Sulfur by itself is a minor fungicide in tomatoDespite good management practices, diseases production. Sulfur can easily burn the plant asusually occur, presenting one of the greatest air temperatures rise. It also has mild insecticidalchallenges to organic tomato growers. The and miticidal properties which may reduce thedegree of occurrence is regionally based and predator/parasite complex keeping pest insectslargely dependent on environmental conditions. in check.Tomatoes are injured by pathogenic diseases Application of copper is a routine disease controlcaused by fungi, bacteria, and viruses, as well as practice in organic tomato production in theabiotic diseases, such as catfacing and blossom eastern United States. Copper functions both as aend rot, which are caused by environmental and fungicide and bactericide. Most formulations arephysiological disorders. Pathogenic diseases allowable in organic certification. These includedevelop through soil-borne and above-ground bordeaux, basic sulfates, hydroxides,infections and, in some instances, are transmitted oxychlorides, and oxides.through insect feeding. Commercial products like Kocide 101 are usedMajor tomato diseases include those that attack in both conventional and organic tomatothe root system (fusarium wilt, verticillium wilt, production for the control of septoria leaf spot,bacterial wilt, nematodes, rhizoctonia), above- bacterial spot, bacterial speck, anthracnose, andground stems and foliage (early blight, septoria early blight. The efficacy of copper in the controlleaf spot, bacterial canker, late blight), and fruit of early blight is limited, though, especially when(bacterial spot, bacterial speck, anthracnose). disease pressure is high. Since applications areThus, a disease control program is important at made on a 7−10 day schedule, the result may beeach stage of growth. Early blight, one of the 8−12 sprays per growing season.most damaging diseases in the eastern UnitedStates, is the focus of many control programs. The use of copper fungicides in organic production is somewhat controversial. It isOrganic tomato disease control programs are directly toxic at applied rates to some beneficialbased on a combination of organic soil organisms, particularly earthworms and somemanagement practices, IPM practices, natural soil microbes such as blue-green algae  anremedies, and limited fungicide use. important nitrogen-fixer in many soils. Excessive use can also result in the buildup to phytotoxicApplication of composts, crop rotations including (crop damaging) levels of copper in the soil.legumes, and supplemental fertilization with ATTRA // Organic Tomato Production Page 11
  12. 12. Thus, organic growers often monitor soil copper 3. Growers can purchase agriculturelevels through regular soil testing. weather data from a commercial vendor like SkyBit. SkyBit offers an agricultureDisease forecasting is an IPM practice used to weather service for $50 a month. Contactpredict the probability of disease incidence. SkyBit at 1-800-454-2266 for moreWeather monitoring instruments are placed in information.the field to collect data on canopy temperature,leaf wetness periods, and other factors that affect Any of the three latter systems can be used inthe likelihood of disease occurrence. The data combination with TOM-CAST. For detailedcollected from these monitoring stations are used information on how to use the TOM-CASTto time fungicidal sprays for their optimum disease severity index, contact Jim Jasinski ateffect, generally resulting in fewer spray Ohio State University or view the TOM-CASTapplications each growing season. website at: <http://www.ag.ohio- state.edu/~vegnet/tomcats/tomfrm.htm.>TOM-CAST, CU-FAST, and FAST are three of Contact:several different disease forecasting systemsdeveloped for processing tomatoes (47). In Ohio, Jim Jasinski, Tom-Cast Coordinator100% of the tomato paste and ketchup industry, SW District Agent, IPMand about two-thirds of the whole-pack industry 303 Corporate Center Drive, Suite 208have adopted the TOM-CAST system (48). A Vandalia, OH 45377recent expansion of TOMCAST services in this 513-454-5002region now includes BLITECAST, a related 513-454-1237 Faxprogram used to predict late blight (49). jasinski.4@osu.eduResearchers are now looking at TOM-CAST as a Several natural remedies may be employed bytool for fresh market tomato production. organic farmers for foliar disease management.Whereas the standard schedule for conventional These include a wide range of products andfresh market tomatoes includes 8−12 sprays per practices including: compost watery extracts;growing season, TOM-CAST users have reported hydrogen peroxide; sodium bicarbonate; foliarreductions in fungicide applications of 25−30% in fertilizers; plant extracts (fermented nettle tea,Ohio (48), and up to 70−80% in New York (50). equisetum tea, comfrey tea); and biostimulants (seaweed, humates). The precise mode of actionThere are several ways that tomato growers can for many of these materials remains to begain access to weather data and/or forecasts: discovered.1. Growers can purchase and install weather Of these, compost watery extracts and hydrogen monitoring equipment on their own farm. peroxide look promising for the control of tomato As an example, one vendor sells field diseases like early blight. Compost extracts have weather monitoring equipment as a tool proven effective for several vegetable diseases, for use in IPM programs for $1,200−3,000. including late blight of tomatoes (51). See the Several growers, or a growers ATTRA publication Compost Teas for Plant Disease cooperative, may need to band together to Control <http://www.attra.org/attra- split the cost. pub/comptea.html> for references and resources.2. Growers can obtain data from state-wide Little information is available on the use and agriculture weather systems. A few states efficacy of hydrogen peroxide. Growers in New operate web-based agricultural weather Jersey are using 35% hydrogen peroxide and sites (e.g., MesoNet in Oklahoma, AWIS diluting it to a 0.5%−1% foliar spray solution, in Alabama-Florida-Georgia, PAWS in though lower rates are also common. Rates of 2% Washington, Texas A&M Meteorology). and 4% are being used as a post-harvest wash. A ATTRA // Organic Tomato Production Page 12
  13. 13. 1% solution is equivalent to 3.7 oz in 124.3 oz of 3) Ruth Hazzard, personal communication.water, while a 0.5% solution is equivalent to 1.8 Vegetable IPM Specialist, University ofoz in 126.2 oz of water (52). Massachusetts. 4) McCraw, Dean, Jim Motes, andBiological fungicides are a relatively new tool Raymond Joe Schatzer. 1987.available to organic growers. Biological Commercial Production of Freshfungicides contain beneficial bacteria or fungi Market Tomatoes. OSU Extension(microbial antagonists) which help suppress Facts No. 6019. Cooperativepathogens that cause plant disease. For example, Extension Service, Oklahoma StateF-Stop, registered as a seed treatment for University. 8 p.tomatoes, contains a biocontrol agent calledTrichoderma viride sensu. T-22G Biological Plant 5) Lorenz, Oscar A., and Donald N.Protectant Granules, registered as an in-furrow Maynard. 1988. Knotts Handbook for Vegetable Growers. 3rd ed.soil treatment on tomatoes and other vegetables, Wiley-Interscience, John Wiley &contains Trichoderma harzianum, strain KRL-AG2. Sons, New York, NY. 455 p.See the Microbial Pesticides table in Appendix A 6) USDA. 1992. U.S. Tomato Statistics,of theATTRA publication Integrated Pest 1960−1990. U.S. Department of Agriculture,Management Washington, D.C.<http://www.attra.org/attra-pub/ipm.html#appendixa>for a comprehensive 7) McCraw, Dean, Jim Motes, andsummary of microbial pesticides used for insect Raymond Joe Schatzer. 1987.and disease control. Commercial Production of Fresh Market Tomatoes. OSU Extension Facts No. 6019. CooperativeSee the USDA web site Commercial Biocontrol Extension Service, Oklahoma StateProducts for Use Against Soilborne Crop Diseases University. 8 p.<http://www.barc.usda.gov/psi/bpdl/bioprod.htm> for a comprehensive list of biocontrols for 8) Davis, Jeannine. 1989. Review your tomatosoilborne plant pathogen. cultural practices. American Vegetable Grower. August. p. 36.Resources 9) Helen Atthowe, personal communication.For standard information on tomato production Organic tomato grower, formerly of Medford,(planting, staking and pruning, variety New Jersey.recommendations, irrigation, harvest, and 10) Konsler, T.R., and D.B. Shoemaker (ed). 1980.marketing), we suggest the excellent resources Growing Trellised Tomatoes In Westernalready compiled by the Cooperative Extension North Carolina. AG-60. North CarolinaService. See the attached resource list titled Agricultural Extension Service. Greensboro,Tomato Web Links for a listing of tomato literature. NC. 44 p. 11) Porte, William S. and J. Wilcox. 1963.References: Commercial Production of Tomatoes. USDA Farmers Bulletin No. 2045.1) USDA. 1980. Report and Recommendations U.S. Department of Agriculture, on Organic Farming. USDA Study Team on Washington, D.C. 48 p. Organic Farming. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington D.C. 94 p. 12) Brown, James E., et al. 1995. Comparison of broiler litter and commercial fertilizer on2) Anon. 1995. Massachusetts Integrated Pest production of tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum. Management Standards for Tomatoes. IPM Journal of Vegetable Crop Production. Vol. 1, Program, University of Massachusetts, No. 1. p. 53−62. Amhurst, MA. ATTRA // Organic Tomato Production Page 13
  14. 14. References: (continued) 24) Fresh-Market Tomato Production, Agdex No. 257/2013) Pellet, Frank C. and Melvin A. Pellet. 1930. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Practical Tomato Culture. A.T. De La Mare Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Co., Inc., New York, NY. 154 p. http://www.gov.on.ca/OMAFRA/english/cr ops/facts/94-019.htm14) Skow, Dan. 1991. Growing quality tomatoes with soil energy. Acres, U.S.A. September. p. 25) Monks, D. 1993. Veg-I-News. Cooperative 1, 6−7. Extension Service, North Carolina State University. Vol. 12, No. 4.15) Oikeh, S.O. and J.E. Asiegbu. 1993. Growth and yield responses of tomatoes to sources 26) Abdul-Baki, Aref A. and John Teasdale. 1997. and rates of organic manures in ferralitic soils. Sustainable Production of Fresh Market Bioresource Technology. Volume 45. p. Tomatoes and Other Summer Vegetables with 21−25. Organic Mulches. Farmers Bulletin No. 2279. USDA-Agriculture Research Service,16) Reiners, Stephen. 1995. Effect of Organic Washington, D.C. 23 p. Nitrogen Amendments on the Yield of <http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/np/tomatoes. Tomatoes. Production and Marketing html> Report (submitted for publication). New Jersey Cooperative Extension Service, 27) Gould, Wilbur A. 1992. Tomato Rutgers University. 7 p. Production, Processing, and Technology, 3rd ed. CTI Publications,17) Stivers, Lydia J. and Carol Shennan. 1991. Inc., Baltimore, MD. 535 p. Meeting the nitrogen needs of processing tomatoes through winter cover cropping. 28) Stanley, Doris. 1991. More for less: a Journal of Production Agriculture. Vol. 4, No. new way to grow tomatoes. 3. p. 330−335. Agricultural Research. October. p. 14.18) Luebke, Uta. 1994. Humus Management Seminar. Bird-In-Hand Village, PA. 29) Abdul-Baki, Aref A., J.R. Teasdale, R. Korcak, D. Chitwood, and R. Huettle. 1995.19) Hofstetter, Bob. 1988. Vine-ripened profits. Yield, earliness, and fruit weight of fresh- The New Farm. May-June. p. 38−41. market tomatoes grown in synthetic and organic mulches. HortScience. Vol. 30, No.20) Batal, K.M., et al. 1995. Effects of winter cover 4. p. 806. crops and N applications on vegetable crop production systems. HortScience. Vol. 30, No. 30) Creamer, N.G., B. Plassman, M.A. Bennett, 3. p. 429. R.K. Wood, B.R. Stinner, and J. Cardina. 1995. A Method For Mechanically Killing Cover21) Morelock, T.E. and M.R. Hall. 1980. Use of Crops To Optimize Weed Suppression. Ohio broiler litter on staked tomatoes. Proceedings Agriculture Research and Development of the Annual Meetings of the Arkansas State Center, Ohio State University, Wooster, OH. Horticultural Society. p. 38−39. In press.22) Sivapalan, A. et al. 1997. Effect of inoculating 31) Dabney, S., N.W. Buehring, and D.B. fungi into compost on growth of tomato and Reginelli. 1991. Mechanical control of compost microflora. Sustainable Agriculture. legume cover crops. p. 146−147. In: Winter. p. 8. W.L. Hargrove (ed.) Cover Crops for Clean Water. Soil and Water23) Tourte, Laura. 1997. Kelp extract and fish Conservation Society, Ankeny, IA. powder sprays on organically grown processing tomatoes. Organic Farming 32) Munn, D.A. 1992. Comparison of shredded Research Foundation Information Bulletin. newspaper and wheat straw as crop mulches. Spring. p. 6−7, 9. HortTechnology. Vol. 2. p. 361-366. ATTRA // Organic Tomato Production Page 14
  15. 15. References: (continued) Agriculture (Selected Papers from the Fourth International Conference of33) Schonbeck, Mark. 1995. Mulching choices for IFOAM). Praeger Press, New York, warm-season vegetables. The Virginia NY. Biological Farmer. Spring. p. 16−18. 44) Hoitink, Harry A., and Peter C. Fahy.34) Williams, Greg and Pat Williams. 1996. Great 1986. Basis for the control of soilborne success with straw-mulched tomatoes in New plant pathogens with composts. York. HortIdeas. August. p. 90. Annual Reviews of Phytopathology. Vol. 24. p. 93−114.35) Anon. 1995. Colored mulch improves yields. Greenhouse Management & Production. 45) Logsdon, Gene. 1995. Using compost November. p. 21. for plant disease control. p. 58−60. In: Farm Scale Composting. BioCycle36) Csizinszky, A.A., et al. 1995. Evaluation of magazine/The JG Press, Emmaus, color mulches and oil sprays for yield and PA. silverleaf whitefly control on tomatoes. HortScience. July. p. 755. 46) Dr. Harry Hoitink, personal communication. Plant Pathologist, Ohio State University.37) Motes, James E. 1987. Tomato production cost comparisons. p. 7−10. Proceedings of the 47) Gleason, M.L., et al. 1995. Disease- 6th Annual Oklahoma Horticultural Industries warning systems for processing Show. Held Feb 17−18, Tulsa, OK. tomatoes in Eastern North America: Are we there yet? Plant Disease. Vol.38) Tietjen, W.H. et al. 1995. The effect of 79, No. 2. p. 113−121. staking vs. ground culture on tomato postharvest losses (abstract). 48) Dr. Mark Bennett, personal communication. HortScience. Vol. 30, No. 4. p. 755. Extension Horticulturist, Ohio State University.39) Patterson, C.L. 1990. Cultural management of tomato early blight 49) Anon. 1996. Tomato disease forecast system epidemics. p. 143−146. Proceedings expanding services. The Great Lakes of the 9th Annual Oklahoma Vegetable Growers News. June. p. 7. Horticultural Industries Show. Held January 5−6, Tulsa, OK. 50) Dr. Stephen Reiners, personal communication. Vegetable Researcher, Cornell University.40) Hazzard, Ruth and Robert Wick. 1996. Management of early blight & septoria leaf 51) Weltzein, Heinrich C. 1989. Some spot in fresh market tomatoes. The Natural effects of composted organic materials Farmer. Fall. p. 12−13. on plant health. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. Vol.41) Grossman, Joel. 1980. Sweetcorn in tomatoes 27. p. 439−446. keeps the fruitworm at bay. Organic Gardening. May-June. p. 78−79. 52) Rosen, Emily Brown. 1995. Dilution Rates for Hydrogen Peroxide. Northeast Organic42) Olkowski, Bill. 1995. Processing Farmers Association-New Jersey. 1 p. tomatoes: Pesticide reduction strategies. Farmer to Farmer. July- August, Issue No. 10. p. 10−11. Appendix:43) Lumsden, Robert D. et al. 1983. Table 1: Plant Nutrient Recommendations for Effect of organic amendments on Tomatoes Based on Soil Tests soilborne plant diseases and pathogen antagonists. p. 51-70. In: Lockeretz, Table 2: Number of Plants per Acre at Several William (ed.) Environmentally Sound Between-row and In-row Plant Spacings ATTRA // Organic Tomato Production Page 15
  17. 17. Table 2 Number of Tomato Plants* per Acre at Several Between-row and In-row Spacings Between Rows (feet) Between Plants in the Row (inches) 18 21 24 5 5,808 4,978 4,356 5½ 5,280 4,526 3,960 6 4,840 4,148 3,630 * Number of stakes required per acre is exactly half the number of plants required, for any spacing. Table 1 Plant Nutrient Recommendations for Tomatoes Based on Soil TestsCrop and Application Method N Soil Phosphorus Level Soil Potassium Level Lbs/A Low Med High V. High Low Med High V. High Pounds P2O5 per Acre Pounds K2O per AcreFresh market tomatoesSandy loams and loamy sandsTotal recommended 80-90 200 150 100 0 300 200 100 0Broadcast and plow down 40-45 200 150 100 0 300 200 100 0Sidedress when first fruits are set 40-45 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0Loams and silt loamsTotal recommended 50-80 200 150 100 0 250 150 100 0Broadcast and plow down 50 200 150 100 0 250 150 100 0Sidedress at first fruit if needed 25-30 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0Processing tomatoes − transplants for multiple harvestsSandy loams and loamy sandsTotal recommended 130 250 150 100 0 300 200 100 0Broadcast and disk in 50 250 150 100 0 300 200 100 0Sidedress at first cultivation 50 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0Sidedress when 1st fruits 1" diam. 30 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0Loams and silt loamsTotal recommended 100-125 250 150 100 0 300 200 100 0Broadcast and plow down 50-75 250 150 100 0 300 200 100 0Sidedress when 1st fruits 1" diam. 25-50 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Source: Rutgers University. 1998. 1998 Commercial Vegetable Production Recommendations. Publication No. E001N-W2. Rutgers Cooperative Extension, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. ATTRA // ORGANIC TOMATO PRODUCTION Page 17
  18. 18. Source: Neary, Philip E. 1992. Commercial Staked Tomato Production in New Jersey. E-163. Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. 7 p.ATTRA // ORGANIC TOMATO PRODUCTION Page 18
  19. 19. Table 3 Major Insect Pests of Tomatoes Name Damage ControlAphid Sucks sap; Vectors disease; Insecticidal soap; Beneficial insects Creates honeydew which (ladybugs, lacewings, etc.); attracts sooty mold; Misshapen Beauvaria bassiana; Pyrethrum; foliage, flowers, and fruit RotenoneArmyworm Feeds on foliage and fruit Beneficial insects; Bt on larvae; Superior oilBlister beetle Feeds on foliage and fruit Larvae are beneficial. For severe infestations, use pyrethrum, rotenone, or sabadillaColorado potato Feeds on foliage Bt on larvae; Encourage beneficials;beetle Neem; Pyrethrum; RotenoneCutworm Cuts plant stem Apply parasitic nematodes to soil; Wood ashes around stem; Moist bran mixed with Bt scattered on soilFlea beetle Many small holes in foliage Row covers; Sanitation; Apply parasitic nematodes to soil; Neem; Pyrethrum; Rotenone; SabadillaFruitworm Feeds on foliage, flower, fruit Destroy infested fruit; Bt; Row covers; Neem; RyaniaHornworm Feeds on foliage and fruit Bt; Pyrethrum if severePinworm Fruit has narrow black tunnels Destroy infested fruit; Till at season end to prevent overwintering; SabadillaStink bug Deformed fruit with whitish- Control weeds near plants; Trap yellow spots crops; Planting late-maturing varieties; Attract beneficials by planting small-flowered plants; SabadillaWhitefly Distorted, yellow leaves; Insecticidal soap; Yellow sticky Honeydew which attracts sooty traps; Beneficial insects; Garlic oil; mold Pyrethrum; Rotenone; Beauveria bassianaATTRA // ORGANIC TOMATO PRODUCTION Page 19
  20. 20. Table 4 Tomato Diseases Name Damage Control Early blight (Alternaria Leaves have brown spots Resistant cultivars*; blight) with concentric rings and Sanitation at season end; yellow "halos"; Incidence Mulching; Air circulation; increases in warm, humid Avoid water on leaves; weather Rotation; Copper. Late blight Leaves have bluish-gray Resistant cultivars; Sanitation; spots; Leaves turn brown and Avoid water on leaves; Grow drop; Fruits have dark brown, in poly hoop houses; Copper corky spots; Incidence increases with wet weather, warm days and cool nights Leaf spot (Septoria leaf Numerous small brown spots Sanitation; Rotation; Avoid spot) with gray or black centers; water on leaves; Anti- Leaves turn yellow and drop transpirants; Copper Anthracnose Fruit has small, slightly Resistant cultivars; Sanitation; sunken circular spots that Rotation; Physical support of spread and crack open plant; Copper; Sulfur; Remove severely infected plants Tobacco Mosaic Virus Distorted, small leaves and Dont grow around tobacco; (TMV) plants Dont handle if tobacco is present on hands; Destroy infested plants Bacterial spot; Bacterial Small, dark spots on leaves; Copper; Remove and destroy speck Brown, rough spots on fruit infested plants if severe Bacterial canker Leaves have brown edges; Remove and destroy infested Wilted leaves; Fruit has very plants small, dark brown spots with white edges*The Mountain series (Mountain Pride, Mountain Supreme, Mountain Gold, Mountain Fresh, andMountain Belle) is early blight tolerant.For Verticillium, Fusarium, and nematode resistance, cultivars labeled VFN should be used. ATTRA // ORGANIC TOMATO PRODUCTION Page 20
  21. 21. Table 5 Other Problems of Tomatoes Name Cause Effect Control Blossom end Lack of calcium Sunken spot on Resistant cultivars; rot; blossom end of fruit; Add Ca to soil; Spray Blackheart Blackheart is internal with seaweed extract; condition Mulch to keep moisture level constant Cracking Warm, rainy weather Fruits split open Resistant cultivars; after dry spell Mulch to keep moisture level constant Catfacing Cool weather Malformed fruit with Row covers scars near blossom end Blossom Sudden temp. Blossoms fall off Resistant varieties drop changes; Nights before pollination below 55°F; Hot occurs weather; Too little light; Too much/Too little water; Too much fertilizer Sunscald Overexposure to sun Yellowish-white Maintain plant vigor caused by defoliation patches on fruit to avoid defoliation by insects and disease N deficiency Lack of nitrogen Yellowing of oldest Compost; Composted leaves; Stunted manure; Soybean growth meal; Dried blood; Fish emulsion; Legume cover crop P deficiency Lack of phosphorus Reddish-purple Compost; Leaf mold; leaves Bonemeal; Rock phosphate K deficiency Lack of potassium Bronze spots between Compost; Kelp meal; veins of leaves; Granite dust; Underdeveloped Greensand; Wood roots ashesATTRA // ORGANIC TOMATO PRODUCTION Page 21
  22. 22. 800-346-9140 TOMATO WEB LINKS HORTICULTURE RESOURCE LISTAppropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas ATTRA is the national sustainable agriculture information center funded by the USDA’s Rural Business -- Cooperative Service. Extension Fact Sheets on Tomato Production and HandlingTomato Production in FloridaFlorida Cooperative Extension Servicehttp://hammock.ifas.ufl.edu/txt/fairs/CV137Tomato Production Guide for FloridaCooperative Extension Service, University of Floridahttp://hammock.ifas.ufl.edu./txt/fairs/56332Processing Tomato Production in CaliforniaCooperative Extension Service, University of Californiahttp://vric.ucdavis.edu/vrichome/html/selectnewcrop.tomproc.htmMature-Green Tomatoes (Bush Grown)Cooperative Extension Service, University of Californiahttp://vric.ucdavis.edu/vrichome/html/veginfo/commodity/tomato/matgrtomatoprod.htmlTomatoes (Fresh Market) San Diego CountyCooperative Extension Service, University of Californiahttp://vric.ucdavis.edu/vrichome/html/veginfo/commodity/tomato/sdtomatoprod.htmlFresh-Market Tomato ProductionOntario Agriculture, Agdex 257/20http://www.gov.on.ca/OMAFRA/english/crops/facts/94-019.htmCommercial Production of Fresh Market TomatoesOklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Oklahoma State Universityhttp://www.okstate.edu/OSU_Ag/agedcm4h/pearl/hort/vegetble/f-6019.pdfAgricultural Alternatives: TomatoesPennsylvania Cooperative Extension Service, Pennsylvania State Universityhttp://agalternatives.cas.psu.edu/tomato.htmlCommercial Production of Tomatoes in MississippiMississippi State Extension Service, Mississippi State Universityhttp://ext.msstate.edu/pubs/is1514.htmPruning and Training TomatoesUniversity of Missouri Extension Servicehttp://muextension.missouri.edu/xplor/agguides/hort/g06460.htm ATTRA // ORGANIC TOMATO PRODUCTION Page 22
  23. 23. Fresh Market TomatoesUniversity of Missouri Extension Servicehttp://muextension.missouri.edu/xplor/agguides/hort/g06370.htmCommercial Vegetable Production: TomatoesKansas Cooperative Extension Service, Kansas State Universityhttp://www.oznet.ksu.edu/_library/HORT2/MF1124.pdfTomatoesOregon State University Cooperative Extension Servicehttp://www.orst.edu/Dept/NWREC/tomato.htmlPostharvest Cooling and Handling of Field- and Greenhouse-Grown TomatoesNorth Carolina Cooperative Extension Servicehttp://www1.ncsu.edu/bae/programs/extension/publicat/postharvest.htmlCrop Budgets, Economics, and Marketing for Tomatoes1994, University of California Cooperative Extension Sample Costs to Produce Organic ProcessingTomatoes in the Sacramento Valleyhttp://vric.ucdavis.edu/vrichome/html/veginfo/topics/prodcosts/organictom.htmlTable 77: Costs of Production for Fresh Market Tomato, Per Acre Organic Production PracticesNortheastern United States, 1996. Rutgers Cooperative Extension.http://aesop.rutgers.edu:80/~farmmgmt/ne-budgets/organic/Tomatoes-FreshMarket.htmlTable 78: Costs of Production for Processing Tomato, Per Acre Organic Production PracticesNortheastern United States, 1996. Rutgers Cooperative Extension.http://aesop.rutgers.edu:80/~farmmgmt/ne-budgets/organic/Tomatoes-Processing.htmlProcessor Tomato Projected Production Costs, 1994-1995Cooperative Extension Service , University of Californiahttp://vric.ucdavis.edu/vrichome/html/veginfo/commodity/tomato/proctomatocosts.htmlMature Green Tomatoes, Bush Grown Projected Production Costs, 1994-1995Cooperative Extension Service , University of Californiahttp://vric.ucdavis.edu/vrichome/html/veginfo/commodity/tomato/grtomatocosts.htmlMature Green Tomatoes, Bush Grown Drip Irrigated Projected Production Costs, 1995-1995Cooperative Extension Service, University of Californiahttp://vric.ucdavis.edu/vrichome/html/veginfo/commodity/tomato/grtomatodripcosts.htmlUSDA-Economic Research Service: Fresh Market Tomato Production Statisticshttp://www.econ.ag.gov/briefing/tomato/Tomatoes: Fresh Market and Processing1998 Ohio Vegetable Production Guide Bulletin 672http://www.ag.ohio-state.edu/~ohioline/b672/b672_31.html ATTRA // ORGANIC TOMATO PRODUCTION Page 23
  24. 24. Statewide Statistics on Processing Tomato Acreage and TonnageCalifornia Tomato Growers Association, Inc.http://www.ctga.org/by%20state.htmStaked Tomatoes: Green Pack BudgetOhio Cooperative Extension Service, Ohio State Universityhttp://www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/hcs/EM/budget/tom-gren.pdfProcessing Tomatoes: Machine Harvest BudgetOhio Cooperative Extension Service, Ohio State Universityhttp://www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/hcs/EM/budget/tom-mach.pdfProcessing Tomatoes: Hand Harvest BudgetOhio Cooperative Extension Service, Ohio State Universityhttp://www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/hcs/EM/budget/tom-hand.pdfUnited States Standards for Grades of Fresh TomatoesUSDA-Agricultural Marketing Servicehttp://www.ams.usda.gov/standards/tomatfrh.pdfThe Farmers Bookshelf: TomatoUniversity of Hawaii  College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resourceshttp://Agrss.sherman.Hawaii.Edu/bookshelf/tomato2/tomato2.htm This has a link to download a Tomato Cost Analysis spreadsheet for Lotus 1-2-3Sustainable Production Practices for Tomatoes and VegetablesSustainable Practices for Vegetable Production in the SouthNorth Carolina Cooperative Extension Servicehttp://www.cals.ncsu.edu/sustainable/peet/A No-Tillage Tomato Production System Using Hairy Vetch and Subterranean Clover MulchesUC-SAREP, University of Californiahttp://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/sarep/newsltr/v7n1/sa-11.htmRole of Legume Cover Crops in Sustainable Tomato ProductionFort Valley State University (Fort Valley, Georgia)http://agschool.fvsc.peachnet.edu/html/Research/Projects/0164671.htm Abstract: The third year of yield experiments was conducted during 1996-97 to compare the efficacy of winter cover cropping with legumes for replacing synthetic N fertilization in tomato production. Legumes supplied significantly greater amounts of mineralized N to the soil during the tomato growing season than rye or control. There was no significant difference in plant dry weight and fruit yields between fertilizer and legume N sources. Both fertilizer and legume winter cover resulted in higher plant dry weight and tomato yields than control.Current Research − Legume Cover Crops and Tomato YieldsFort Valley State University (Fort Valley, Georgia)http://agschool.fvsc.peachnet.edu/html/Publications/CommoditySheets/fvsu014.htm Abstract: Alternative methods of tomato production is the focus of ongoing research at the Fort ATTRA // ORGANIC TOMATO PRODUCTION Page 24
  25. 25. Valley State University Agricultural Research Station. For the past three years, the overall tomato research objective has been the comparison of fall/winter cover crops (Abruzi Rye, Hairy Vetch, and Crimson Clover) to different rates of commercial nitrogen for a possible nitrogen fertilizer substitute. The study did not use raised beds, plastic mulch, or drip irrigation. The states median yield for tomato production on raised mulched beds is 20 tons/acre and 12.5 tons/acre for bare ground. Average tomato yield over three years in the station study were: Zero Nitrogen=19.0 tons/acre, Abruzi rye=18.1 tons/acre, Hairy Vetch=28.7 tons/acre, Crimson Clover=27.5 tons/acre, Full Nitrogen=28.2 tons/acre, and Half Nitrogen=29.9 tons/acre. In general, it appears that Vetch and Clover are comparable to nitrogen fertilizer.IPM for TomatoesFact Sheets Related to Tomato Diseases and TOMCASTOhio State Universityhttp://www.ag.ohio-state.edu/~vegnet/tomcats/tomfrm.htmCrop Knowledge Master: Tomato IPMUniversity of Hawaii  College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resourceshttp://www.extento.hawaii.edu/kbase/crop/crops/tomato.htmUC Pest Management Guidelines: Pests of Tomatoeshttp://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/selectnewpest.tomatoes.htmlNortheast Greenhouse IPM Notes (Field and Greenhouse Horticultural Crops)Cornell & Rutgers Cooperative Extensionhttp://www.cce.cornell.edu/suffolk/greenhouse-notes/Miscellaneous Web LinksUsing Cold Frames in Eastern Oklahoma (Tomato Crop)The Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture Newsletter, November/December 1996 -- Vol. 22, No. 6http://www.kerrcenter.com/nwsltr/news22-6.htm#Article 5Sustainable Agriculture for Vegetable Production in Mississippi: Conventional, Transitional, andOrganic Tomato Production Systems.Journal of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences. Volume 41, Number 3. July 1996http://www.msstate.edu/Org/MAS/jmas2.html ATTRA // ORGANIC TOMATO PRODUCTION Page 25